Markham Theater Group is an alliance of volunteers who believe that live theater not only entertains but also gives the community a sense of pride through involvement. We work wonders on a shoestring budget to stage plays that families can enjoy at admission prices that are low enough for most to afford- often cheaper than the average movie ticket. Several plays are produced each year, the players being selected through auditions that are open to the public. Participation in each play is free, to encourage those who are truly interested to become involved regardless of their income. We also hold workshops for which there is a tuition fee (our bread and butter) that can be waived for talented people who may otherwise be unable to pay.
The Old Markham Schoolhouse (3212 Stone Church Rd) was generously offered by the Henry Green family of Hartland Orchard, and the Markham United Methodist Church. The Schoolhouse stands next to the historic Old Stone Church at Goose Creek, the oldest church in Fauquier County. The church is still in use by the Markham United Methodist Church and the Goose Creek Primitive Baptist Church congregations, who also use the lower level of the old school house. The upper level theater space was created especially for the theater lab project and for this we are tremendously grateful.
As of November 7, 2012 we became an affiliate of the Fauquier County Virginia Department of Parks and Recreation, thanks to the enthusiasm and support from the Marshall Community Center.
MTG Founder/Director Bess Taylor grew up in Arlington, Virginia and attended extracurricular drama classes during her elementary school years. She also acted in seven auditioned Children’s Theater of Arlington productions (now known as Encore Stage and Studio).
She was in the youth choir at the Arlington Unitarian Church, and took part in four operas produced there by then Washington Metropolitan Chorus director Vera Tilson: Carl Orff’s "Christmas Story" (which was televised on CBS), and Benjamin Britten’s “Noyes Fludde", and “Saint Nicholas”, and Malcolm Williamson’s “The Happy Prince”.
Bess performed in school productions at Williamsburg Junior High School and Yorktown Senior High School in Arlington, and attended a summer improvisational workshop with Living Stage at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. She majored in Commercial Art at Central Missouri State University, and played in several drama department shows there.
She learned the art of drawing cel animation (which requires dramatic skills to make the characters move convincingly) with an internship at Gary Hughes’ Film studio. She then worked as a freelance animator, creating animated pieces for the Smithsonian Institution and the Department of the Interior.
Bess helped direct and produce two amateur short live action films with the Excelsior Films group: “An Extramundane Tour of Washington” which was requested by the National Building Musuem’s archives and has been shown as part of their summer film series, and “The Better Half” which won the Washington Psychotronic Film Festival.
After settling down in Marshall Virginia and having a child, Bess became aware of the need for an accessible community theater in northern Fauquier. She became involved with The Middleburg Players to introduce her child to stage acting and to re-acclimate herself with community theater. Bess played Mrs. Fletcher in “It Was Mostly Fun”, Mrs. Carnes in “Oklahoma”, Anna Leonowens in “The King and I”, and the Mother Superior Sister Regina in “Nunsense”. She also played the role of the evil queen Drahomira in “Saint Wenceslas”, an original musical by John Krumich with the American Children of SCORE at the Highland Center for the Performing Arts.
In 2010 Bess Taylor was able to fulfill a dream of creating a local community theater by establishing the Markham Theater Group. In 2012, through affiliation with the Fauquier Department of Parks and Recreation she extended the theater to the Marshall Community Center in Marshall VA.
The Markham Theater Group would like to thank the following patrons for their
generous support of our community theater:
Henry Green and family
Markham United Methodist Church
BB&T of Marshall
Jeff Kleinman and Dr. Pete Verloop
Jim Casteel and Denisa Scott
John and Kelly Walker family
Paul and Lori Hicks
The Leeds Ruritan Club
The Whole Ox
Tutti Perricone, Back Street Catering
Eric Dombrowski, Grace Church in The Plains
Cold Stone Creamery
Dawson's Painting Inc.
Anne Michael Green, Fauquier Realty
Hap Johnson and Laura Ewing
Pam Stutz, 2nd Time Around Consignments